Israel is among the most developed and richest countries in the Southwest Asia. This is one of the youngest countries in this part of the world. It was created in 1948 by decree of the United Nations. Although the small territory, the country occupies a very attractive place, because there is a wide outlet to the Mediterranean Sea. Israel is the world’s biggest religious center – center not for one, but for three religions – Christianity, Judaism and Islam.
Geographic location. Israel is a country in Southwest Asia. It has a territory of 20 400sq.km. This territory does not include the territories annexed by Israel further. It extends between 33 and 29 degrees north latitude. Bordered on the north by Lebanon, with Syria to the northwest and to the east with Jordan. On the west, it has a wide outlet to the Mediterranean Sea. On the territory of the Sinai Peninsula in the southwest, Israel bordered by Egypt. The southern part of the country is narrow, but still it has 11 kilometers outlet to the Red Sea. Eilat city can rightly be called „The Israel‘s Riviera“ as the city welcomes hundreds of thousands of tourists per year, because of its exotic scenery and warm climate year round.
Relief. Israel has a very diverse topography. Near the Mediterranean Sea predominate the flat terrain. In places the coast is slightly hilly. The western parts of the country are occupied mainly of plateaus. Here the average altitude is about 650 meters, but in different parts ranged from 500 to around 800. The highest point of Israel is Har Meron. It rises to a height of 1208 meters in the northern parts of the country, near the border with Lebanon. Particular interesting feature of the relief of Israel is the Dead Sea Depression, which is the lowest point on our planet. It is located in the eastern part of the country, on the border with Jordan. It is located 395 meters below the sea level.
Climate. Israel has a varied climate, not only because of its geographical location, but also because of the varied topography. The majority of the country falls within the subtropical climatic zone. On the west along the coast of the Mediterranean Sea, the climate is typical Mediterranean – the summer is dry, hot and very long, while the winter is short, mild and humid. Inside, with increasing of the altitude, the winter becomes quite cold, although it is also very short. In the southern part of the country in the town of Eilat, the climate is tropical and warm throughout the year. In Tel Aviv the daily winter temperatures range from 17 degrees in January to 19-20 in March. From April to November is quite warm, even hot.
The warmest month is August, when the average daily temperatures do not fall under 30°C at the shadow. For beach is suitable from April to November, and sometimes there is enough warm days for this purpose even at Christmas! From November to February-March is quite wet. Usually at the beginning of the winter in January may fall more than 160 millimeters of rain. From April to the late October is too dry, sometimes for months do not fall not a drop of rain. In Jerusalem, which is located away of the softening effect of the Mediterranean Sea, the winters are considerably cooler, though also warm. The daily temperatures in January are around 15°C, ie about 2-3 degrees lower than the temperatures in Tel Aviv.
The summers are too hot – about 2-3 degrees warmer in comparison with Tel Aviv and in August, when temperatures reach their maximum, they rarely fall below 32 – 33 degrees. In Eilat, which is located on the shore of the Red Sea, the tropical climate is very dry and hot. In January, the daytime temperatures are not less than 21-22°C. In August the temperatures can reach around 40, but sometimes are much higher. The beach season is all year round and there is a plenty of sunny days. Rainfall is negligible, and only during the winter months can drop to about 1-2 millimeters. In the mountains the winters can be cold and even can form a thick snow cover.
Nature. The nature of Israel is exotic and interesting. There is more greenness on the Mediterranean coast and in the northern parts of the country. The landscape is predominated by evergreen forests and shrubs. Very well grow date palm, citrus trees, olive trees and some conifers. By moving away from the Mediterranean coast, the vegetation becomes increasingly rare and scarce. In the eastern parts of the country, near the Dead Sea there is a typical desert landscape with traditional yellow and unvaried nuances. Around the coast of Dead Sea here and there you can see rare vegetation, which is pile up in the form of beautiful oasises.
The southern half of the country is also mainly occupied by deserts. Here is located the desert Negev. At Eilat in the southern parts of the country, the vegetation is extremely scarce, despite the proximity of the Red Sea. There are only date palm and other warm-loving and dry-loving species. For Eilat one can says that there is vegetation, where the people care about it. Israel has a priceless treasure, which few countries can boast.
In the southern parts of the country in the warm waters of the Red Sea there are beautiful coral reefs that make the diving here very attractive and interesting experience. The country is not rich in waters, because of the dry and hot climate. In the northern part of the country there are some small rivers. In the southern part of Israel, even these small rivers do not run all year round. The largest river is actually situated on the border and separates Israel and Jordan – that is the world famous Jordan River.
Population and settlements. The total population of the country is about 6 500 000 people. The population is growing relatively fast, because Israel has a very effective policy aimed at Israelis who live abroad. It is also one of the ways to maintain the rapid pace of the economic development. Largest city in Israel is Tel Aviv, which is home to almost ½ of the population or about 3 100 000 inhabitants. Other major cities include Haifa (1 000 000 people), Jerusalem (800 000). The question “which is actually the capital of Israel” is quite delicate. In 1980 Israel declared Jerusalem for its capital city, but the world community does not recognize this city as the capital of the country. For the majority of the countries all around the world, the official capital of Israel today is Tel Aviv.
Economy. Israel has a well developed economy. The country relies mainly to the processing of diamonds, manufacture of computer equipment and medical equipment, the advanced agriculture, and the arriving all year-round crowds of tourists. For a year the country is usually visited by around 1,5 – 2 million foreigners. The official currency is the New Israel Shekel.
Paradoxically, the country’s biggest trade partners are the U.S. and the EU, while there is almost no trade relations with the neighboring countries, because of the delicate relations between the neighbors. Israel is a very innovative country, which invented fast and introduces several innovations in all spheres of the economy. One phenomenon of recent decades is called the “kibbutz”. This is a grouping of small individual farms in a large and highly productive farm. The labor and profits are divided equally. So the farmers are more productive and able to provide higher yields and therefore profits. Typical of these associations “kibbutz” is that they are consist mainly young families.
History. The modern history of Israel is very short, but very vigorous and dynamic. The country was founded on its present site in 1948 and in the same year was the first Arab-Israeli war. For the short time in which Israel exists, there are serious changes in the political map. Israel annexed to its territory, the Golan Heights, which belong to Syria, but today Israel and Syria negotiate about the return back to these lands into the borders of Syria. The international community has refused categorically to recognize the ownership of Israel over the Syria’s lands. Years earlier, such was the situation with the Egyptian Sinai Peninsula. Then the international community pressed Israel to withdraw its troops from these lands. Small but very powerful and dynamic – so could most accurately be described the country of Israel.
Landmarks. Israel is a country with many attractions. Jerusalem is the most important religious center of the planet. Here are the Holy Sepulcher, which is the most sacred place for Christians, the Wailing Wall, which is extremely important for the Jews and the third most important mosque in the world – Al-Aqsa. Another major landmark in Israel is the world famous Bahai Gardens, which is considered to be one of the most beautiful parks on the planet. The garden is a real work of art that stretches along the slopes of the city of Haifa (considered to be the most beautiful Israeli city). From the natural sites most worthy of note is the depression of the Dead Sea. Here one can lie on the water surface almost like in bed or even to read a newspaper or magazine, without fearing that it would sink!